“Dram shop liability” is a term referring to the liability that a bar, restaurant, or other establishment may have if they serve alcohol to a patron who is already intoxicated. In Missouri and Illinois, when the victim of a drunk driving accident can prove that their injuries resulted from a bar or nightclub improperly serving alcohol to a person who causes injury to himself or other individuals, legal action against the bar can provide an important means of compensation.
Proof in Dram Shop Liability Cases
Each case involving potential dram shop liability will be fact-specific. A restaurant or bar is not automatically liable for damages caused in a drunk driving accident simply because they served alcohol to the driver. They are only legally responsible if it can be shown that the person was already intoxicated, and that the establishment continued to serve alcohol to that person even though the server knew or should have known that the person was already drunk.
In the course of alcohol consumption, a person does not become drunk immediately after consuming alcohol. There is an amount of time that elapses between consuming alcohol and when the alcohol enters a person’s bloodstream and causes impairment. As a result, a bar or restaurant may claim that the person was not intoxicated at the time they were served alcohol, but that the person became intoxicated later (perhaps after they left the establishment).
We Work to Show that the Establishment Was Aware of Intoxication
In the case of potential dram shop liability, we seek to find out all the information we can concerning the drunk driver’s consumption of alcohol at any establishments where they were prior to causing the drunk driving accident. We want to know how much alcohol they had, where it was consumed, and who served it to them.
We also want to know whether the servers showed an indication that they knew that the person was drunk, but nonetheless continue to serve alcohol. If there are witnesses or others who were drinking with the drunk driver, we want to find out if they observed any of the servers making comments indicating that they knew that the person was drunk. It is also helpful to obtain copies of the check to find out how much alcohol was served to the drunk driver, as this can be helpful in proving that the server knew or should have known that the person was drunk.
To find out this information, we often will hire an investigator to thoroughly investigate the events that transpired prior to the drunk driving accident. If we need to, we can also subpoena records from a bar to help prove intoxication.
We Want to Identify Any Establishments Liable for Serving Alcohol to the Drunk Driver So That They Can Be Held Accountable
This is the only way in which you will be able to receive the maximum amount of damages to which you are entitled.
If you have been injured, or a loved one has been injured or killed, as a result of a drunk driving accident, please call me. I will meet with you at your convenience free of charge. I can explain to you what we will do as your lawyers to seek the maximum damages from all those who have contributed to the accident. There is no fee for our representation unless and until we recover a judgment or settlement.